Ron Paul for President

Okay, while I often state my political beliefs, it's rare that I make any attempt to influence those of somebody else. Instead, I generally would prefer to hear why people believe as they do (as long as the discussion doesn't devolve into an argument). However, this is a rather unique situation. (Forgive me if I'm a bit off in the following data, I'm working from memory rather than looking it all up again.)

Senator Ron Paul is a republican senator from Texas. He's been in the senate for 20 years, a career he started after spending some (not insignificant) time as an ob-gyn. So, you ask, why should I care, especially as chances are very good I don't even live in Texas? I can answer that question.

First, Ron Paul is running for president. So are about a dozen other people. So, that really doesn't make him special. However, he's also a politician who has stayed true to his campaign promises during his ENTIRE senate career. He's also the only candidate I'm aware of who NEVER supported the war in Iraq and who wants to bring the troops home immediately. He is a true conservative who always follows the Constitution, and the Constitution says that if we want a war, CONGRESS is the one responsible for declaring it. The fact that Congress hasn't officially declared war with Iraq makes our presence there a violation of the Constitution. Even if you think we SHOULD be over there, you got to respect a man who has actually upheld his oath to protect and defend the Constitution.

Beyond his war position in which he is unique, he also believes in much smaller federal government (Constitutionally small, I should say) and an economy based on money backed by real wealth. So, he consistently states that disbanding the IRS and Federal Reserve are two of his plans if he's elected. (Do a web search on the Federal Reserve if the topic is unfamiliar.)

Maybe you're thinking this might sound good, but what are his chances of actually winning? That depends on who you ask. Mainstream media is acting as if they're actually afraid he might win. They minimize his constant victories in polls and debates (often claiming fraud), though his victories prove he's got a following that's willing to take the effort to share their views on his candidacy. ("Scientific" polls involve no effort on the part of the participant, so likely include those who can't be bothered to vote on election day.) If you get all your information from mainsteam media, you may never have heard that Ron Paul is even running for president. However, his campaign is growing exponentially, and he's definitely one of the "top-tier" candidates when you talk about funding (especially from the military), polls (including straw polls that people must pay to participate in), and the like.

Anyway, like his supporters' signs often say, "Google Ron Paul." Watch videos of the debates he's been in on YouTube and elsewhere. Read about his political position on whatever your "hot-button" issue may be. Compare his statements to his congressional voting record. Watch for inconsistencies in his statements over time or his actions as compared with his statements. You may actually find someone you can vote FOR in this election instead of voting AGAINST "the other guy." (He's even got a myspace page.)


Life Changing Books

I've read some good books, and I've read some great books. But very few books have actually made a difference in my life over the long haul.

Following is a short list of authors (and their books) that have made a long-term difference in my life.

  • Daniel Quinn

    • Ishmael
    • Story of B
    • My Ishmael

  • Richard Dawkins

    • The Selfish Gene
    • The God Delusion
    • River Out of Eden

  • Harry Browne

    • Why Government Doesn't Work
    • The Great Libertarian Offer
    • How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
    • Fail-Safe Investing

  • Stephen Covey

    • First Things First

  • John Taylor Gatto

    • Underground History of Education

Those are the books that most directly changed my life. Some set the stage for other books or writings or the like, some were the "final straw" in changing my opinion about things. But none of them were insignificant to me. If you're interested in discussing any of these books or recommending others that you think I might benefit from, feel free to comment on this post.


Tre's Computer

So, we were rearranging things in our life and doing minor (video card and memory) upgrades on our computers and decided it was time that our three-year-old son, Tre, had his own computer. I'm sure this isn't a decision that most people would agree with... why on earth does a three-year-old need his own computer?

Well, for one, our family (my parents included, but not Rich's) are very technologically inclined. We've had a computer in my family as long as I can remember, and I believe I had my own computer from the time I was about eight. Also, Rich and I chose to spend a great deal of our recreation time playing on the computer (either actually playing computer games or surfing, working on personal projects, or otherwise tinkering). So, Tre was wanting to participate, which was causing some friction as we discussed who's copmuter he was going to use at any given instant. Add to that fact the fact that I work from home doing transcription (of course, on my computer) and it just seemed to make sense for him to have his own computer.

So, I dug out my collection of kid's games, installed them all on his computer, and let him go. He's had his computer for about a week now, and he's already increasing in so many skills! His ability to double click has improved dramatically. But beyond that his games have him recognizing letters and numbers, working with matching shapes (as in a "color by picture" portion of his current favorite game). He's learning basic categories of food, transportation, and animals. And all while he's having an absolute blast and doing just what he wants to do. Of course, I have to help him some, especially as his favorite game is directed toward first graders, who (from the content) apparently are expected to be doing some reading, but it constantly surprises me just how much he can do on his own without my help.

And, also a surprise to me, he's asked for a way to "type with me," so his current second favorite activity (after the first grade game) is to open up Notepad and type while I'm typing. Anyway, it's been a lot of fun watching him explore this new (to him) world of computing and being able to "let go" because I'm not worried about him messing up my computer or Rich's. After all, if he completely hoses his install, I can just install everything again, no real loss. :)


Petty Things of Vast Importance

Until recently, my life has felt just a bit off kilter. Things were out of balance. And what, you may ask, was the cause of this imbalance? Nothing significant, at least, not to anyone other than me. But first, a little background.

I recently made the mental move from leaning toward paganism (but not practicing anything) to out-and-out athiesm. This has been a change that has been in process for quite some time since my original disillusionment with the church I was raised in. Initially, I continued to believe that Christianity was correct, but the manner my church practiced was problematic. Then I did some thinking/studying and came up with many questions that I couldn't find satisfactory answers to. At that point my opinion shifted to a belief in a creator, a desire for something after death, and an affection for the trappings of peganism, but no real spiritual practice. Then, recently, I learned a little bit about evolution (which I had been previously told functions on pure chance), and my need for a creator was abolished, and with it my lingering belief in God. (I am now starting a slightly more in-depth study of evolution for my own benefit.)

So, as I approached this decision, the necklace that I wore constantly (a heart with a cross on it) no longer seemed appropriate and I removed it. I knew exactly what I wanted to replace it with (a pegasus pendant, I've been in love with the idea of winged horses as long as I can remember), but didn't have the funds to do so. This lead to me not wearing a necklace for a month or two, and that made me feel slightly off balance.

Then there's the technology. I own a palm pilot. I use it to track everything from appointments and contacts to gas milage and my menstrual cycle. I also read extensively on it, both news (from Lew Rockwell.com) and books (purchased or manually digitized). But in May of this year, my backup palm pilot (actually Rich's that he loaned me) broke, leaving me without one. Once again, this lead to an off kilter feeling as I struggled for new ways (albiet temporary ways) to keep things in some semblance of order.

However, Rich recently came into a small amount of money (a bonus at work) just after we got all our bills caught up and we were able to take care of some things that had been pending for a long time. We got both palm pilots repaired for under $100 (I'd highly recommend the individual who repaired them, Chris Short, though he does specialize in only a few models -- email him at ips AT chartermi DOT net for an estimate) and I got a new silver pegasus necklace for $25. And as I went to bed last night I finally felt like everything was right with the world.

They may seem like very petty things to most people, but somehow having my necklace and a working palm pilot make a huge difference in my life. And it all makes me wonder, is it only me or are there petty things that make a big difference in most everyone's lives? Things that may only matter to you, but without them everything just seems slightly wrong. Anyway, that's my thought of the day.